ED Holds Its Ground: Seeks Custody To Interrogate ‘Non-Cooperating’ P Chidambaram, Opposes Anticipatory Bail Plea

P Chidambaram (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought custody of Senior Congress Leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday for interrogation in Aircel-Maxis case and has opposed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Chidambaram, PTI reported.

Last week the ED, on Thursday filed a chargesheet against the former Union minister P Chidambaram accusing him of conspiring with foreign investors to give them clearance for their venture, in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram and seven others were charged with money laundering of Rs 1.16 crore in lieu of illegal Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIFB) approval by the former minister in March 2006, which violated various rules and regulations governing the FDI policy in India. The approval was given to the foreign investor Global Communication and Services Holdings Limited, Mauritius.

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ED, objecting to the anticipatory bail plea of Chidambaram, reportedly said that he was not cooperating and has remained evasive in the probe. Therefore, grant of anticipatory bail at this stage would be highly detrimental to the investigation.

"From the conduct of the petitioner, which gets amply demonstrated from the records available, the investigating agency has reached a bonafide conclusion that in the absence of custodial interrogation it will not be possible to reach the truth of the allegations as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and non-cooperative," the agency said in reply opposing the anticipatory bail plea.

It said Chidambaram, a Rajya Sabha MP and former union minister, who is also a senior advocate practising in the Supreme Court, "is a highly influential and well-connected individual. Therefore, there is a serious apprehension of the applicant influencing witnesses or tampering with evidence pertaining to the present case."

ED claimed that the case has several dimensions and wide ramifications for which investigation has been concluded to some extent, and was still on-going with regard to certain pending issues.

The hearing on Chidambaram's plea will take place before Special Judge O P Saini on Thursday (1 November).

On 8 October, the court had extended interim protection granted to Chidambaram and his son Karti till 1 November.

Chidambaram had filed the plea for protection from arrest in the ED case on 30 May this year. He has got relief on various occasions.

(With Inputs From PTI)

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